Moose Brook Fat Bike Race

Weeks ago when I signed on for this event I said to myself, Wow, this should be pretty cool. Racing on snow with other fast dudes that got caught by the fatty bug which has exploded exponentially this Winter. That of course brings us to this past Sundays race in Gorham NH. It’s my belief that just a couple of years ago there would not have been nearly enough folks that owned fatty’s to conduct a race of this sort.

Fat City

Fat City

What a mix. Steel, carbon, aluminum, and carbon. Everything was on display. The rule was 3.5″ minimum tire width. That was clearly not an issue for these race participants.

As the race drew closer. I found myself playing things out in my head. Four laps of four miles. Wait a minute! Who the heck has been riding their fatty’s more than 12 miles at a time? Heck, Stratham Hill is only doing 30 minute heats. Sixteen miles at race pace and the race filled up in only a couple weeks? I’m not sure folks thought this one through. I factored laps for this one to be thirty minutes at least. Yep, two plus hours in the saddle at race pace pushing tires 2480g mated to 1700g of rims and top it off with some 900g inner tube weight! You get the picture. It’s the rotational mass. Now add in the time of year, a negative two degree starting temperature, and gusting headwind and you’ve got yourself a real winter fat race!

Pre Race Meeting

Pre Race Meeting

Driving North on 93 at 5:30AM watching the outside temperature going down, my only thought was of frost bite. Minus 15 coming through Franconia Notch. Yep, I’m going to freeze. Temps upon arrival were just below zero. Clothing selection. 45 North FasterKat shoes, wool socks, Pearl Izumi fleece leg warmers, Gore Windstopper bib tights, base layer fleece lined long sleeve race jersey, Gore Windstopper jacket, Gore Windstopper Baclava, Pearl Izumi lobster gloves, two packs of hand warmers, and one pair of foot bed warmers. Tire choice with a fat bike is so critical as is the pressure you run.  I chose the stock 127 TPI Huska Du’s. They’re light at just 1240g each and roll pretty well. Of course what you gain in rolling efficiency you loose in grip. My only other option would have been to have left my 27 TPI steel studded wire beaded Dillingers that I’ve been running on for the 16 miler. I opted for the race tire and wondered about my decision the whole drive up.

Getting dressed in the passenger seat was like watching a NASA astronaut getting ready for a space walk. Heat cranking, one item at a time, taking care to seal up any gaps in the layering. In the end it was just the tip of the nose with exposure. So how does one warm up in Arctic like temps? Well, you don’t. I rode up the first climb to the turn into the woods. Came right back down and doubted my bodies ability to force blood into my extremities. I’d soon find out my fate.

The Start

The Start

Luckily the race officials didn’t let us stand around too long. I ended up leaving my hydration pack on the picnic table since it was frozen. The smart guys either had insulated bottles or hand ups. I have no idea how anyone can eat either. Taking the lobster glove off or trying to get something from a pocket or opening a wrapper would have been a disaster. So for me it had to be 2 hours of survival.

The Prez navigating Rimmers Ravine

The Prez navigating Rimmers Ravine

I took the outside line. Since everyone considers themselves “advanced intermediate” I knew I had to get positioning in the top 10 into the first single-track downhill section. Gauvin, Rowell, Starrett, Carver, Rumsey, Littlefield, Nelson, Seib, and myself. So this of course isn’t your run of the mill bike race. It’s snow, ice, wind, climbing, narrow bridges, quick transitions and virtually no flat sections. Rumor has it Starrett flatted. If so that had to have happened in the tiny brook crossing where I rimmed out 3 of the 4 laps. Once through the first section you begin a small climb where I moved past Rick Nelson. You continue up the longest double-track section before taking a left hander and hitting some fun downhill action. The climbing isn’t over though as there was a nice series of uphill switchbacks. It was here where Seib pulled over due to block (frozen) hands. At this point, I was starting to calculate my position. I was figuring fourth or fifth spot. Plenty more single track from this point on, handling skills would be key here. Following Ryan Littlefield, we hit a raised bridge with a built in lefthander. Ryan lost his front tire and crashed out. From here I hooked onto and would spend a good portion of the rest of my morning racing for 3rd place.

Rumsey (right) Forrest Carver (left)

Rumsey (right) Forrest Carver (left)

I began lap 2 with Ryan Rumsey and Forest Carver. We rode the next 7-8 miles together. Forrest was killing the DH sections with his monster truck tires. I did my best to get away on the switchback climb, but he wouldn’t go away. Finally, the elastic started to stretch. I began my fade off Rumsey’s wheel on the way to the high point of lap 3. Carver was still turning over what looked like 5″ wide tires and went with him.

Solo

Solo

I could see them just ahead. There was still another lap to go. No water and 4 miles left. Lots of gear work would commence. Big ring, little ring. By lap four you knew the course. You knew the right line, and I knew where the last quick uphill was that required momentum due to a large ice sheet. I spun out and ended up running it lap two. With about 1/4 of a mile to go all of a sudden appearing out of nowhere Ryan Littlefield appears behind me. I was all set at that point to coast into the finish. The icy sections were coming up so it was again game on. I accelerated and started taking some risks. Loosing my line and frantically overshooting some corners. I nailed the last quick uphill and emptied the rest of the tank to the finish line. Looking back there was no threat of a sprint finish on fattys, but I Guess that would have been pretty cool. I finished the race in 5th spot on the day.

Snotcicles

Snotcicles

Heck of an event which I’m guessing will grow in 2015. it was well organized and I have to say the chili afterwards was so good! Especially since it was served in real bowls with real stainless steel spoons. This will be one of those memorable races for me. In my opinion, a true mountain bike course with all the fixings. Add in the super adverse conditions and longish course for a January race and you’ve got your Winter Moose Brook Classic. “If it was easy, then everyone would do it”  Race Results here

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

The White Flash

It was supposed to be a 1-3″ non event snowfall. I guess they got it wrong. We got 5-7″ in Southern NH. Enough to spark a snow emergency in Nashua.

I pulled out the Beargrease at 11:30 AM with about 1-2″ already on the ground. The concern was as always is, how much ice is there under the snow? The answer? ALOT! Even with 480 carbide studs on the Dillingers. With a thin quarter inch of compacted snow between the ice and stud contact point you get zero grip. Early in the ride I went for a 20 yard slide on the access road down to the Bowman lot at Horse Hill. Things would continue to improve as the snow depth continued to rise.

With the heavy snow only a few folks were out on the trail and just as few cars on the roads. In many spots I just rode in the middle of the road. Folks out clearing their driveways waved and shook their heads as I inched by. Finally we got some packable snow which began pulling on evergreen branches. By the time I got over to Greens Pond and Wasserman trails I was riding through what seemed to be snow tunnels. Made me think about tree skiing back in the day after a large snow dump. Quiet and peaceful.

If you got fat tires. Get out and pack your local trails and get ready for some great riding this week!

20140119-085949.jpg

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Bring it on Mother Nature!

Merrimack has had 29″ of the white stuff this winter. I guess we were long overdue for a tough winter. I’ve always dreaded the deep snow. Wishing for warm sunshine to melt it all away. Nowadays I’m wishing for more to fall locally so I can ride my fatty around in the woods. The never ending cycling season is now a reality.

We’ve put together a great dedicated group of local fat riders that not only love to ride but also share a passion for keeping the trails open and riding smooth. friday night -4 degrees…. No problem 4 men on snowshoes packing 4 miles of trail pulling a weighted groomer sled behind. Yet another group at Horse Hill Saturday morning packing another 6 miles. Not enough you say? Got an E-mail a few hours ago letting me know that another fellow fat biker went in with snowshoes and shovel and repaired a popular downhill section of trail. Building berms and benching where needed. Thanks Pete!

image

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Getting Fat In 2014

Video | Posted on by | 1 Comment

Christmas Eve FatPak Ride

Pete's Carbon Beargrease

Pete’s Carbon Beargrease

We’ve been hard at work grooming the trails at Horse Hill. Unfortunately the heavier than expected rain and foot traffic destroyed much of our grooming efforts. That doesn’t however deter the FatPak riders from getting their fix.

Top Of Blodgett Hill

Top Of Blodgett Hill

 

10:AM Christmas Eve Fatty ride. What better way to kick of the holiday festivities than a pre present opening snow ride. We’ve got more than our share of early season snow this year. Perfect for those of us that made the jump to the 4″ tires.

Paul Carving the Crust

Paul Carving the Crust

Conditions were mixed from Ultra choppy to, fine corduroy. The less the foot traffic the better. Pipeline and GPC III were in fine form, smooth and flowy. Parts of loop trail were torn  to pieces making me desire a hideous thud buster post to take the edge off.

Anthony (Cycle Loft) Representing

Anthony (Cycle Loft) Representing

Apparently we’re not the only group that enjoys riding in the white stuff either. Snowmobiles (helpful), Quads (not helpful) were having some fun as well.

Not even a set of Clown Shoes could negotiate the chute.

Not even a set of Clown Shoes could negotiate the chute.

Our Groomer worked as intended. GPC 3 which is one of our newest trails had seen zero boot traffic and it was perfect. Only a stray deer print could be found on a smooth paved 18″ ribbon of single-track.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Merrimack 50 2013

This gallery contains 78 photos.

Gallery | Leave a comment

Build, Ride, Repeat

Unlike many racer folk that race for a shop or club. We NEMBA racers race for…. well….to race. Sure we do our fair share to promote the organization and construction of sustainable trails as well, but that just comes with the love for the sport. No fancy shop name in fact no sponsor names at all. One thing we know is that we love dirt. We love the woods. We also love to build trails.

It’s been a few months since I did an entry. Some of you may have thought I gave up the race scene. That’s far from the story though. Those of you with little ones at home know that This time of year means back to school, sports, homework, club activity, birthday parties, and parent teacher meetings. Throw in a large home construction project and something just has to give. So with less focus on racing, there has to be something for me to pass the time.

So I’ve been digging in the dirt a bit earlier than in past year and more frequent as well. As a matter of fact within the last 3 years, Merrimack has seen numerous trail improvements and a large expansion of its network. Six new trails since 2010 and we’re not even close to complete. Outer Ledges, Twister, Fat Cat, Pipeline, Greens Pond, and Blodget Hill Bypass. No longer do we ride our private stock, well maybe a little private stock. The word is out, and riders as far as Portsmouth NH have made the trek to check out our handy work. With the white stuff coming we’ve got yet more scheduled to build.

Here’s some of the images of what we’ve been up to.

Greens Pond Connector Drainage

Greens Pond Connector Drainage

Composite Bridge to Palmeri Drive

Composite Bridge to Palmeri Drive

 

New  Blodget Hill Bypass

New Blodget Hill Bypass

IMG_0731

This was the free donation from FOMBA.

Bridge From FOMBA that they didn't want.

Bridge From FOMBA that they didn’t want.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment